- Michigan is the new favorite to win the Big Ten championship after its 77-54 victory over Wisconsin on Tuesday night
- The Wolverines are the first team in college basketball history to win three straight games over ranked teams by at least 19 points
- A look at the latest Big Ten championship odds and analysis can be found below
Michigan is the new favorite to win the Big Ten championship following its demolition of Wisconsin on Tuesday night.
The unbeaten Wolverines are listed at +155 in the latest Big Ten Championship odds. Wisconsin and Iowa had been co-favorites prior to Tuesday.
Michigan’s 77-54 victory at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor was arguably the most convincing of the college basketball season. That is why the odds now look like this:
2020-21 Big Ten Championship Odds
Odds taken Jan. 13 from FanDuel
#7 Michigan used a 43-6 run that spanned parts of both halves to bury #9 Wisconsin and allowed the Wolverines to easily cover as 2.5-point favorites and raise their overall record to 11-0.
Michigan led 26-23 before scoring the last 14 points of the first half to extend their advantage to 17. The Wolverines then outscored the Badgers 29-6 to begin the second half and stretch the lead to almost incomprehensible 69-29.
Wisconsin made the final score somewhat respectable, but Michigan clearly dominated the matchup of top ten teams.
Graduate transfer Mike Smith led the way for Michigan as the guard who starred at Columbia scored 16 points and dished out six assists. Sophomore forward Franz Wagner added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Wagner also had four of Michigan’s nine blocked shots as the Wolverines made rim protection a priority against the physical Badgers. Six of the rejections came in the first half.
Franz Wagner is doing it all tonight.
Check out this @umichbball highlight basket. 〽 pic.twitter.com/BdrsuxrKaK
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 13, 2021
Michigan shot 52% to Wisconsin’s 31%. The Wolverines also knocked down nine of 16 3-pointers for 56.3%.
One of the most impressive aspects of the victory is that Michigan rolled even though sensational freshman center Hunter Dickinson had an ordinary game by his increasingly lofty standards. Dickinson finished with 12 points and six rebounds, both below his averages of 17.5 and 7.9.
Sizing Up the Field
Michigan remains alone in first place in the Big Ten with a 6-0 conference record.
Iowa (5-1), with Naismith Player of the Year favorite Luke Garza, is second and followed by Illinois (5-2) and Wisconsin (4-2). There is a four-team logjam for fifth place as Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue all are 3-3.
Luka Garza had 33 points in a 86-71 win for #5 Iowa (-10.5) over #15 Minnesota.
UI is now 8-2 ATS in their last 10 ??#Hawkeyes
— SportsBettingDime (@SBD) January 10, 2021
The media members who vote in the Associated Press poll rank Iowa (11-2 overall) higher, though. The Hawkeyes are #5 while Michigan is #7.
Also in the Top 25 are #9 Wisconsin (10-3), #14 Illinois (9-4), #21 Ohio State (9-3) and #23 Minnesota (10-4).
KenPom efficiency ratings have Michigan as the fourth-best team in the country, just behind Iowa at #3. They trail Gonzaga and Baylor.
Other Big Ten teams in KenPom’s top 25 are #7 Illinois, #9 Wisconsin, #16 Ohio State and #25 Indiana.
A Bit of History
The rout of Wisconsin continued a historic run by Michigan. The Wolverines are the first team in college basketball history to beat three consecutive ranked teams by at least 19 points.
Michigan’s average margin of victory during that streak is 22.3 points and started with an 85-66 win over then-#19 Northwestern on Jan. 3. Dickinson had 19 points and four Wolverines scored at least 14.
Crisler welcomed back families tonight and 〽️? responded with a lopsided win over Northwestern led by ?? double figure scoring Wolverines. Highlights? Yup we have them.
Roll the ?#GoBlue pic.twitter.com/S9Wi5grNZj
— Michigan Men’s Basketball (@umichbball) January 4, 2021
The Wolverines followed with an 82-57 romp over then-#16 Minnesota in which Dickinson had a season-high 28 points while making 12 of 15 field goal attempts.
Michigan’s streak has been quite impressive, but it should be noted that all three wins came at home. The Wolverines have played just two road games this season and both have come against weaker Big Ten teams as they beat Nebraska (80-69) and Maryland (84-73) by 11 points each.
Iowa represents Michigan’s biggest challenger to the Big Ten title in the eyes of the oddsmakers and pollsters.
The Wolverines and Hawkeyes meet only one time this season, March 4th at Ann Arbor. Iowa is second in the nation in offensive efficiency according to KenPom but Michigan is 11th in defensive efficiency and should seemingly be able to at least slow the Hawkeyes down.
Chill, @isaiah__02. ?
It’s twin takeaways and slams for the @umichbball senior: pic.twitter.com/al5yHyonar
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 7, 2021
While Wisconsin got thumped Tuesday, it would also be unwise to count the Badgers out. They remain one of the nation’s best teams and Tuesday’s outcome likely represented a somewhat fluky outcome.
Iowa has the slightest of edges over Michigan at this point because of its ability to score in bunches. Both are very capable of winning the conference title.
Yet the team lurking in the background that could overtake everyone in the Big Ten and is the better value bet is Illinois. While the Fighting Illini took a bad 66-63 home loss to Maryland on Sunday as a 10.5-point favorite, the duo of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn gives Illinois the capability of beating anybody.